Related: Trump’s CMS Posts 2018 Medicare Premiums)
Medicare managers announced today that they will hold increases in Medicare Part B premiums to about 1.1% for most enrollees in 2019. For some high-income enrollees, however, premiums will rise 7.4%.
Medicare Part B is the component of the traditional Medicare program that covers physician services and hospital outpatient care.
Here’s a look at how the monthly Part B premiums will change, by annual income level:
- Individuals earning less than $85,000, and couples earning less than $170,000: $135.50 in 2019, from $134 this year.
- Individuals earnings $160,000 to $500,000, and couples earning $320,000 to $750,000: $433.40 in 2019, from $428.60 this year.
- Individuals earning $500,000 or more, and couples earning $750,000 or more: $460.50 in 2019, from $428.60 this year.
The annual Medicare Part B deductible will increase 1.1%, to $185.
Another component of the traditional the Medicare program, Medicare Part A, covers inpatient hospital bills.
Medicare managers use payroll taxes to cover most of the cost of running the Medicare Part A program. Few Medicare Part A enrollees pay premiums for that coverage. But, for the enrollees who do have to pay premiums for Medicare Part A coverage, the full premium will increase 3.6%, to $437 per month.
The Medicare Part A deductible for inpatient hospital care will increase 1.8%, to $1,340.
Why are high earners paying so much more for Medicare Part B?
Congress has been increasing the share of Medicare costs that high earners pay in recent years.
For 2018, the top annual income category for Medicare Part B rate-setting purposes was for $160,000 and over for individuals, and for $320,000 and over for couples. Premiums from those Medicare Part B enrollees are supposed to cover 80% of their Part B claims.
In the Balanced Budget Act of 2018, Congress added a new annual income category: for individuals earning $500,000 or more and couples earning $750,000 or more. Premiums from Part B enrollees in that income category are supposed to cover 85% of those enrollees’ Part B claims.
Who do these rate increases actually affect?
Medicare now has about 60 million enrollees of all kinds, according to the CMS Medicare Enrollment Dashboard.